Friday, August 12, 2011

the back to school post

Two weeks from Tuesday, I'll be back in class.  Twice last week someone wandered here from a google search for the words "back to school," and they were probably looking for advice on school supplies or sources for kids' uniforms or good ideas for sack lunches (which would be a great topic, let me know if you have good ideas-- I am the world's most boring maker of sack lunches).

But this is just me, now ancient of days and back in school again.  I'm working on a master's in English.  I started last year, and if you decide to go back to school 25 years after your last experience, I'll just warn you:  it's terrifying.  The first few days, you feel like you've accidentally beamed down to the wrong planet as you wander around with all your years of life experience tucked under your belt but with no more clue of where you're going or what you should be doing than the rankest 18-year-old freshman.

But you get over that.  That's not to say you never feel out of place again, but you get used to being the Old One, and you figure out where your classes are and where to eat lunch (and how to pay for lunch, which can be more complicated than you'd expect), and where you can get a locker so you don't have to lug your books around all day.

So if by chance you did find this blog because you googled "back to school" and you really are going back to school as.... um..... a mature adult, shall we say, just hang in there for the first ten days or so while you are thinking, Why the hell did I think this was a good idea?  Because chances are, once you get past that first week and a half, you'll be fine.

anyway.  that wasn't what I sat down to type about.  If you've been around for awhile you might remember that last fall, the first semester of my master's program, I posted and posted and posted about my struggles to wrap my brain around literary theory, and academic feminism in particular (if you missed them, the labels "gradschool" and "feminism" over there in the left column will provide more than you ever wanted to know).

But last spring, to my surprise, the gradschool posts mostly petered out.  There are a couple of reasons for that, and the main one is that I realized how dumb I was being to wade into a huge, ongoing academic discussion without knowing what I was talking about.  Not that I didn't have legitimate opinions-- I still am not a devoted follower of the theory way of thinking-- but I didn't really understand the implications of what I was arguing.  As I learned, it became a case of "The more you know, the more you know how much you don't know."  It seemed wisest to keep my mouth shut for awhile.

But I did learn a lot last semester, and I thought as soon as the semester was over and I was done writing all those papers, I would start hammering out posts to finish thinking through what I'd been working on.  Instead I discovered that once the semester was over, the last thing I wanted to do was keep thinking about school.  I've been more than happy to take the summer off.  I've read some school-related stuff (background on Ulysses, and some Montana lit in search of a thesis topic), but not nearly as much as I had planned.  I think it has been good for me to have a break.

this was going to be the first of a couple of posts about things I learned last semester, but now it's become plenty long without me even getting there.  I do go on and on.  More soon.


  1. Sack lunches... I was very bad at those when the kids were in school, but I have become better as Dan has worked in this challenging job, and never knowing whether he gets to have a lunch at all. Pickles are fun, so are hard boiled eggs and raisins (or craisins) plus nuts, as filler items to go along with sammiches (which can be made on bagels, English Muffins, crescent rolls, and a variety of assorted bread type items just to mix things up a bit).

    "Mature" adult, LOL! Great and helpful tips there. You ARE learning a lot!

    Your summer break was a needed one, I am a HUGE fan of resting times and breaks and time off. You earned it, and it turned out to be just what you could use at the time (as things panned out the way they did).

    I love it when you go on and on. And I look forward to all the things you write about.

  2. I'm thinking of finally finishing first degree in the winter semester. In following your journey and Bona Fide Betty as she does the PHD, I'm thinking maybe or nah, I don't need it after all these years. But, there is the immense pleasure in knowing one has accomplished something important and fulfilling.

    Big cheers to you as you start the upcoming semester. Write to your heart's content.